Two big things to talk about this week! Both shooters, both immensely hyped-up, and both pretty friggin’ awesome. You know the drill – Let’s do this.
Current backlog statistics:
Last week’s statistics:
- Unfinished percentage down 0.7% (2 games beaten)
New games since last update:
- Black Ops 2 (Steam)
Beaten games since last update:
- Halo 4 (360)
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
Halo 4 – Finished on Heroic (hard) difficulty.
Most of what I wanted to say about this one I said before in my earlier post, and my initial impressions and general outlook on the game still remain intact even after finishing it. Halo 4 is well-paced, it looks good, and it plays well, sure. There’s some good times to be had here. The main improvements are found in the mutliplayer though, where the progression system found in most other modern shooters has been integrated without changing up the core Halo experience too much. There’s things like loadouts, which were promised in Reach but didn’t turn out exactly as expected, and all sorts of armor-related goodies to keep you poppin’ and lockin’ in the variety of game modes. So that’s cool.
Thing is, if you’re not big on multiplayer, I’m not sure if Halo 4 is really going to impress you. The campaign is pretty solid, but Halo hasn’t been about strong single-player campaigns since somewhere between the first and second games. The main change comes from 343 realizing they should probably shake up the formula a little, since we’ve all been fighting Covenant for over a decade now. So you get these new vividly-orange things called the Prometheans that claim to be organic but have all the personality of a Furby – no, wait, less. They’re eerily quiet, don’t bleed much, and simply aren’t much fun to shoot. They’re also the reason I don’t think Halo 4‘s campaign is anything above being just “good.”
I still had a fun time with it though. It feels kinda on the short side, even for a Halo game – but I may return sometime for a Legendary run. Oh, I can already feel the frustration.
Donkey Kong Country Returns – Speaking of frustration… nah, actually this game is pretty fair with its difficulty, being a platformer and all. If you screw up, it’s always on you. That’s how this game rolls, and as I found out – it’s a damn good time.
I finished it this past weekend with my friend Conor, and we had a pretty tough time with it the whole way through. There’s no in-game statistics menu to be found unfortunately, but I think we easily spent around 20 hours total on this one.
What can I say about it that isn’t already obvious… well, it’s a game about a platforming ape and monkey. Some coked-out Tiki dudes from another universe show up in the Jungle and start weirding all the animals out, so Donkey and Diddy Kong both head out to set things right and collect copious amounts of bananas along the way. Diddy once again wields his signature peanut gun, which continues to be one of the least effective weapons ever, and Donkey, being large and intimidating (but also practical) uses his fists to pound the ground, creating vibrational fields which… if strong enough can… okay, I’m done trying to rationalize how these guys fight. Someone get these two some guns, please.
The gameplay here is straight-up sidescrolling, and the levels are really well done. Interestingly enough, DKCR wasn’t actually developed in-house by Nintendo, rather it was developed by the guys behind the Metroid: Prime games – and they did a splendid job. There’s a lot of solid, intense moments here, and the whole thing will really put your platforming skills to the test. We played in co-op but eventually discovered that doing so actually makes the game harder since there are a lot of time-based platforming ordeals in here – crumbling platforms, minecart segments, rocket barrel flights – not exactly the kind of thing you want to have another person on the screen for. A lot of the time I’d run forward and activate a series of crumbling platforms only to leave Conor totally in the dust, or one of us would hit a switch and the floor beneath the other person would disappear, leading to a rather large primate bodycount. Another thing going against co-op is that if you play solo, you get the combined health bars of both Diddy and Donkey to work with, which is four hearts. So really, the co-op in this game didn’t really seem like it was rewarding the fact that I had brought a friend over to play. Co-op here basically means ripping the character in two and handing each player a half with everything being shared – hit points, lives, vehicular control – so naturally, it complicates things.
There were countless parts in this game where we spent upwards of two hours or more just trying to get through. Eventually we even turned to listening to power metal in the background for strength and motivation. A lot of it was a sort of “trial and error” mastery-cycle, especially on the vehicle segments. I don’t think this game should be known as infamously difficulty, but it’ll kick your ass if you let it. Don’t expect to be breezing through unless you’re really in the zone.
Overall, DKCR is a lot of fun, and one of the best platformers I’ve played in recent memory. The last boss wasn’t particularly satisfying, but I can live with that. It’s the journey, not the destination with these kinds of games. And with a monkey and an ape, you can’t go wrong – because bananas.
So that leaves Black Ops 2 to talk about, and since I haven’t touched the campaign yet, I think I’ll leave that for next week. A post purely about the multiplayer will be a thing, too and will probably happen beforehand.
Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!